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Concurrent resistance and endurance training effects on cycling performance

Here’s a piece out of Australia published in this months Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. It is looking at the effect of concurrent resistance and endurance training on certain parameters for endurance cyclists (full reference at the bottom of the page).

Participants completing the study numbered 14 and were all well trained male cyclists who had been involved in competition for at least 12 months and had not taken part in any resistance training for at least 6 months. Participants were divided into a control group and test group with 7 in each and were tested during the non competitive period of the season. Testing consisted of 1 repetition maximum (RM) squat test, a graded exercise test during which a VO2 max score and peak power output score were obtained and a 30km dynamic cycling test (CT30) and were undertaken in the week before and after the 6 week training program.

The CT 30 test is a 30-km time trial that includes a 250m sprint at the 4, 14 and 24-km mark and a 1-km sprint at the 9, 19 and 29 km marks. During the training program, participants underwent 3 resistance training sessions per week for 6 weeks with one session focused on strength, one on power and one on muscle hypertrophy (appendix 1).

No significant differences were found between groups on any of the tests as a result of the training program that was prescribed. A few possible reasons given for a lack of improvement were given. The prescribed volume may have had an extended overreaching effect reducing the impact of the training and this potentially combined with too short a period of time from the end of training to repeat testing (lag time) meant that recovery and adaptation were unable to take place. It was suggested that there was maybe a lack of specificity to resistance training and, due to the nature of the CT30 test, pacing strategy in the test may have had an effect. The authors conclude by stating that resistance training is unlikely to dynamic endurance cycling performance.

Draw your own conclusions from the piece and by all means give it a read, it would be interesting to hear from some of you that may not agree with dropping resistance training from an endurance cyclists training program.

  • Levin, G.T., McGuigan, M.R. & Laursen, P.B. (2009). Effect of concurrent resistance and endurance training on physiologic and performance parameters of well trained endurance cyclists. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 23(8) pp. 2280-2286.

Appendix 1

Strength – Lunges, squats, stiff leg deadlifts, seated calf raises, inclined crunches

Power – Jump squat, single leg jump squat, clean grip deadlift, single leg calf raise, back extension

Hypertrophy – Single leg leg press, knee extension, knee flexion, standing calf raises, abdominal crunches

Neil Welch

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